Let’s face it, most social apps and interaction on television platforms are tedious silos… including TiVo’s very own Twitter app that launched on Virgin Media in 2011. However, TiVo CEO Tom Rogers has communicated that family and friends will “soon” be able to share viewing recommendations. And we wonder if, instead of managing this through a television UI, it’d be handled via the so-called “second screen.” A number of clues indicate that may be the case… Beyond TiVo’s upcoming TV Everywhere portal, a commissioned tivo.com redesign concept by Haraldur Thorleifsson and hosted on Dribbble includes a Friends tab indicating “TiVo is social. See what your friends are watching.” Of course, this text is most likely a placeholder. Yet, likely indicative of what TiVo’s been percolating. Indeed, TiVo Director Evan Young conveyed at the 2nd Screen CES Summit that the company has been researching things like user profiles, yet is taking a thoughtful approach – intending to add value in a non-creepy manner.
Archives For Web
Since we haven’t actually gotten around to an in-depth review of the newer HD Slingboxes or covered the current state of Sling’s webplayer (that has essentially replaced Mac and PC desktop software), we figured we should at least touch on this little nugget that Engadget turned up. In years and devices past, sharing one’s Slingbox meant sharing a password. But Sling has never shied away controversy, despite network and studio protest, and has revised sharing capabilities with individual, revocable tokens. The Slingbox viewing experience remains one-to-one and invites have been distributed by email address via the Sling.com portal. What’s new this week for Slingbox 350 and 500 owners is Facebook sharing which potentially reduces friction and provides Sling an opportunity to
advertise post to your wall (with your permission). Accepting an invite sends guests directly to Sling’s portal, and this isn’t related the possibly discontinued Facebook SlingPlayer introduced in 2011.
Someone is buying Hulu, and the list of suitors is down to three. Before the close of bidding last Friday, AT&T jumped in on a joint offer with the Chernin Group. Peter Chernin founded Hulu years ago when he was still president of News Corp., but his company’s bid was likely too low without the additional backing of AT&T. DirecTV and Time Warner Cable are also in the hunt, and rumor has it that the bids are upwards of $1 billion. Variety reports this morning that Guggenheim Digital is out of the race after submitting a bid below what Hulu was willing to take.
Hulu initially put itself on the auction block back in 2011, but backed away from a sale at the eleventh hour. Google and Dish were the leading bidders then, with Google reportedly offering up to $4 billion for the company as long as Hulu was willing to throw in expanded content licensing rights as part of the deal. (It wasn’t.)
Unlike Boxee, Hulu has built a significant consumer fan base, and the company says it earned close to $700 million in revenue in 2012. However, Hulu still isn’t profitable, and the issue of video licensing fees is a thorny one as programmers try to protect as much of their revenue as possible through the existing pay-TV ecosystem. Perhaps given those conditions, it’s not surprising that a pay-TV company – and not an outsider like TiVo or Google - appears set to come out on top when the Hulu sale finally closes.
Rumors surfaced earlier this month that Boxee is about to get bought on the cheap. And while details are virtually non-existent on the identity of the buyer, we’ve never let that stop us from speculating before.
So who is the mysterious suitor? I see four potential acquiring types.
With Boxee’s software roots, it’s possible that a hardware manufacturer like D-Link could pick up Boxee’s video guide and DVR applications to bundle with retail boxes. If the price is right, I wonder if even Roku might be interested. Roku doesn’t want to spend the money to license fancy guide software for its super-cheap hardware. But if it could pick up the Boxee assets cheaply enough, the interface upgrade potential could be compelling.
It’s hard to imagine that a pay-TV provider would bother with Boxee, given the other software options available, and the fact that the big operators are building their own next-gen UIs. However, maybe a small innovator would consider grabbing the assets just to break away from the standard software vendors and create some buzz. Wide Open West has made hay with the Moxi interface. Maybe somebody else on the tier-two provider list is ready to step up on the multi-screen UI front.
Media company Continue Reading…
Amidst Hulu’s identity crisis, their Windows and Mac Hulu Desktop software has gone missing. First introduced in 2009, these apps provided another means of video playback… with the benefit of Apple and Microsoft Media Center remote control support. But they unceremoniously vanished from the web several weeks back, along with all of Hulu Labs. A Hulu support rep indicates they are “investigating the matter” (huh?) and “hope to make the link available again soon.” With no further information beyond guidance for “users to stream off the website” and “soon” having coming and gone, we’re left to wonder if Hulu has pulled the plug on this method of video consumption. Not that we care all that much, having mostly avoided the service since being accosted with two-minute Scientology commercials.